There is widespread agreement that law has a major role to play in managing the urban environment and hence in managing growth in the urban environment. It is highly significant that the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development adopted at the Earth Summit in June 1992 laid considerable emphasis on the role of law in creating the appropriate framework for sustainable development. There is, however, a good deal less agreement on what exactly the law should contribute. In the past, great emphasis was laid on control of development and in many countries around the world there are codes of law in place whose raison d’être is to stop development. Their practical effect is to criminalise the efforts of many thousands of people, usually the urban poor, to house themselves, and to work where they live, in this case, usually women.